I cannot tell you how I was able to go 100 days without alcohol without sharing my reasons for doing it, because as it turned out – my reason for doing it gave me the ability to do it.
I wasn’t a binge or heavy drinker but what is the defining line? Because sometimes maybe I was. You know how it goes… most of the time I didn’t drink during the week and just indulged on the weekends. Until things get a bit stressy and then I am pouring myself a glass or three of red on a Monday night to deal with all that happened at work that day.
I used to go days, weeks and even a couple of times I went two months without drinking so it wasn’t as if I couldn’t live without it. But the problem that bugged me was that I sometimes used alcohol to make me feel something else. It was a way to avoid feeling sad, angry, frustrated, stressed or to feel happy, social and free from responsibility. I wasn’t using alcohol to the point where it was gravely affecting my health, job or finances and I think that is where an illusion that everything is okay begins.
Because if I am avoiding feeling negative feelings, even just sometimes, isn’t that avoiding my life? And worse, if I am using it to make me feel better, is that real life? And that bugged the shit out of me.
So I decided that I wanted to feel, really feel, all of my emotions and experience my life as raw and as real as possible. I no longer wanted to use anything as a tool to lighten the mood or wash away the day that wasn’t improving my health and wellbeing. So I became devoted to feeling aligned with how I truly felt in the moment and reconnect with the real me. This gave me such a powerful “why” that became so anchored throughout the 100 days that the “how to” do it just happened.
The thought of doing this experiment absolutely terrified me. I mean, it was just 100 days out of my life but I hadn’t gone 100 days without alcohol EVER in my whole adult life which is exactly why I needed to do this! How could I let something like this control me? I couldn’t. Once I saw this fear I simply HAD to do this even though I had HUGE doubts I would stuff it up.
I reminded myself daily, writing and affirming that I was devoted to living in alignment with my true self. I admit I became a little obsessed with this as I was terrified I would forget why I was doing it and cave in at the first decent excuse. I noticed that when I felt deep intense stress, frustration, anger and overwhelm I wanted to have some wine and forget all about it. Sometimes the urges were so intense that I just took myself to bed even though it was only 7.30pm to get away from them.
At times my internal dialogue was like a bratty teenager and I attempted to manipulate myself with internal tantrums. It’s kind of strange when you can sit back and observe this inner voice acting like a spoilt brat and you respond in a calm adulting mother voice soothing that teenager and coercing her to express herself instead of lashing out. Man! There is so much power in that experience right there.
Because when you really think about it – I was lashing out, rebelling and acting out on myself. It may be something external that triggered it but drinking to avoid feeling this way only ever hurts myself, stops me from dealing with it and kills off all my power and self-confidence.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a work in progress. Once you start feeling everything, well, you start feeling EVERYTHING and there are more ways to avoid feeling than with just alcohol. But because alcohol creates that fuzzy, unclear and unhealthy feeling it compounds that powerless feeling for me so it was the best place to start.
My experience with going 100 days without alcohol has created a feeling within myself where I am no longer afraid to feel anything as well as given me the confidence in myself that I have my own back. I know I can choose to do things that are in my best interest, yes even when it’s been a shithouse day.
I chose to continue this journey with another 100 days because I am not ready to give this feeling up. I have been chasing this feeling my whole life, the feeling that I am good enough and I can handle it.
Will I ever drink again? I really don’t know. I guess answering that question scares me. Do I need to answer it? What does it mean if I don’t? What does it mean if I do?
What I know for sure is that whatever I do, it is going to be intentional and not as a reaction to an urge that is numbing out my real experience of life.